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tv   Focus on Europe  PBS  August 15, 2017 12:30am-1:01am PDT

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>> a very warm welcome to "fokus on europe." i'm michelle henery. unlike in past decades, smoking is widely frowned upon in germany these days. in public buildings, at the workplace, and in buses and trains, lighting up is prohibited. and it's increasingly the case closer to home, too. a few weeks ago, a court ruled that a couple from dortmund were only allowed to smoke on their patio during specified hours after a complaint by neighbors. more on this story coming up later in the show. more than two decades after the end of the bosnian war, which cemented the breakup of yugoslavia, its deadly legacy remains. there are over 100,000 landmines still buried under the ground in
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present-day bosnia and herzegovina. efforts to clear them have been hampered by floods and landslides shifting the locations of minefields, and by the government breaking promises on funding. meanwhile, the mines continue to claim the lives of ordinary citizens, or, like ermin, cause them life-changing injuries. >> participating in sports has helped ermin jusufovic resume a normal life. he's a paralympic volleyball player. 10 years ago, he stepped on a landmine, and lost the lower part of his right leg. >> sitting volleyball has become like a way of life for me. it not only provides an outlet for all the negative energy and thoughts, it's also an opportunity for me to meet my friends. and of course it helps me stay fit, so i benefit physically, mentally, and emotionally.
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>> the club, named "the sons of bosnia," was set up after the war for those maimed in the fighting or in landmine accidents. jusufovic has been selected to play for bosnia-herzegovina's national paralympic team. his twin brother, armin, and the entire family support him. they all live together and have turned their land into a small farm. they also keep bees. pulling together has helped the family to cope. >> after my accident, i struggled to accept what had happened. >> just two years before his accident, his brother also stepped on a landmine. he was badly injured, but doctors were able to save his arms and legs. the beautiful bosnian landscape is full of hidden dangers -- hundreds of thousands of unexploded mines are strewn across the country. the jusufovic family's land wasn't cleared of mines until years after ermin lost his leg. his brother armin was the first to discover him after the -- first on the scene.
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>> at first, i saw only a huge cloud of black smoke. so i ran up there straight away. my uncle came up from the potato field a short while later. together we managed to drag ermin away from there. >> unconsious and covered in blood, ermin was taken to the hospital. it was a miracle that he survived. landmines and other unexploded ordnance left from the war continue to kill and maim bosnian civilians, even though the country has the best mine clearance experts in europe. sead vrana clears mines for a living. he briefs his team in the capital, sarajevo, for the day's mission. >> we've been given the gps coordinates for an unexploded mortar shell. >> they head up into the mountains around sarajevo. bosnian and serb forces spent nearly four years here fighting
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a brutal war of attrition. more than two decades later, the region is still very dangerous. >> we had eight accidents with six fatalities and 12 total injured in bosnia-herzegovina. >> they make their way through landmines and unexploded mortar shells. the work is not easy -- even gps coordinates are not always precise, so there's always a risk. but they know their work is vital. >> we think about handicapped people, the people who got disabled due to unexploded ordnance and mines. >> another dangerous mortar shell neutralized. but it's hard work. it's taken nearly an entire day just to deal with one mortar from the war.
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every day, ermin jusufovic works towards a time when he and his family can live a carefree life. every victory on the court helps. competing in last year's paralympic games was particularly special. >> we won second place, but the feeling was really the same as if we'd got the gold medal. >> ermin plans to compete again in the next paralympics. but his greatest dream is to see bosnia-herzegovina completely cleared of landmines. some day, he says, it will be. >> coverage of the recent g20 summit in hamburg was dominated by scenes of rioting, despite the vast majority of protesters marching peacefully. hundreds of people were arrested among them, young people from all over europe. one of those still in detention is a man from bilbao, a city in the basque region of spain that itself is no stranger to demonstrations.
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now local activists there are fighting for his release --how else? by hitting the streets. >> during the recent g20 summit in hamburg, the city was ravaged by riots. images spread around europe including spain. on the internet, basque and valencian radicals share pictures of barricades and applaud the militants putting up resistance in hambug's "st. pauli" district. activists and radicals from all over europe came to hamburg. there was even basque graffiti in a destroyed shop. from hamburg to the spanish city of bilbao -- here, one week after the g20 summit, dozens of left-wing activists took to the streets every night, demanding that david rincon be released from jail in germany. the young basque was arrested during the hamburg riots and has remained in custody as a
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suspect. the left-wing activists demanding his release are opposed to globalization, they're against "the system," and they want an independent basque country. at a press conference at a left-wing bookshop, they demand that rincon be freed -- they're convinced he's innocent. >> as far as i know, this was the very first time david travelled to a summit like the g20. he wanted to join the protests. we've always been very politically engaged. >> the night before the g20 summit, the "welcome to hell" protest escalated into street riots. rincon is said to have been involved in these riots. but his friends reject that allegation. >> david was arrested far away from the protest while he was eating. the police didn't provide any
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justification or charge. >> asked to comment on this, hamburg's state attorney stated that rincon was arrested for attempting to cause grievous bodily harm. it said that rincon threw two glass bottles at police officers. the bilbao activists don't know what kind of evidence the german authorities have against rincon. but they're still entirely convinced he's innocent. they also vehemently reject german blanket suspicion of foreigners who supposedly came to hamburg just to cause havoc. >> we didn't travel to hamburg as a unit. we had individual plans -- some wanted to protest, others to perform at the theatre or as clowns. or join the counter-summit.
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>> madrid's renowned elcano royal institute has studied spain's leftist scene. its conclusion is that spain, unlike germany, does not have an organized, anarchist "black bloc." >> militant right-wing or left-wing extremists are an absolute minority in spain. they were a minority even during the height of the economic crisis that hit the country hard, and even though there were many protests during this time. >> in may 2011, thousands of outraged spanish young people -- the so-called "indignados" -- occupied madrid's central "puerta del sol" square. for months, they debated and agitated in a largely peaceful manner. some of these indignados later helped establish the leftist podemos protest party, headed by pablo iglesias.
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the party shook up spain's political system and has absorbed much of the protest momentum. back in bilbao, activists continue calling for rincon's release. is he actually a militant? or was he simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, as his uncle suspects? >> as his family, we're worried about david. he's incarcerated and all one in germany. we'rworried. >> but david still remains in custody. in the german authorities seem certain that he's guilty. his supporters in bilbao are sure that that's wrong. and so, both sidespositions on this situati remain ndamentay atdds. >> ever since russia annexed crimea from ukraine in 2014, many of its other neighbors have gone on high alert, fearing similar intervention or invasion.
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the baltic nations, all formerly part of the soviet union, feel particularly vulnerable. after witnessing a military buildup in the russian enclave of kaliningrad, lithuania , recently began building an 80-mile-long, 2-meter-high border fence. but while longtime residents of the border region know the barrier is unlikely to stop tanks rolling in, they hope it will at least reduce the potential threat. >> our journey begins at the edge of the european union. marijona zukauskiene has lived in this border village on lake vitytis for 82 years. she's seen the boundary posts change more than once. first, it was germany's east prussia, then the soviet union. today, she can no longer visit the russian side whenever she wishes. >> no, today, even if we wanted to, we couldn't go over there. there used to be so many mushrooms there. we brought home baskets full of them.
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when was the crossing closed? >> they closed the border when lithuania became an independent state. that was over 20 years ago. >> people who live on the border either live in fear or have come to terms with it. russia is planning maneuvers here for the coming autumn. >> we've gotten used to the speeches about the danger from russia. let them hold their maneuvers. it doesn't bother us. first, it's these soldiers, then the others -- that's their job. >> the border near marijona is blocked off with planks. but there are plenty of crossings, legal or otherwise. as conservative mp laurynas kasciunas tells it, lithuania's in urgent need of a continuous fence to leave no doubt where russia ends and lithuania begins. when we meet him, work on the fence has stopped until signal wire can be delivered. the 12,000 posts alone cost nearly a million and a half euros.
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>>f you look at this, how you impressive is that to you? >> it's impressive, but not too much, you know, because i saw higher, much more higher in hungary. two meters high. i would say three meters or four meters would be better. >> his greatest concern is that russia could smuggle disguised soldiers across like they did in ukraine - little green men, as they're called, that at first go undetected. >> so what are the green mans for? >> oh, it's a new threat, how to control our country. well, russia is a regime which does not know where its border starts and where its border ends. it's a dilemma for russia, a historical dilemma. >> the border region along the eupe river looks peaceful enough at the moment. no armies, large or small, are anywhere near. many of the families in this
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valley have lived here for generations. they catch fish and keep cattle. it looks idyllic, but the hamlet of svaiginiai gets lots of visitors. for some time now, the border patrol has been passing through here regularly, about three times a day. >> and what is this? >> we're under constant surveillance. the border police will be installing a camera here as soon as possible. then, they say, we'll be safe, but that sounds a bit ironic. >> it may very well take a good dose of humor to be able to live on the border at all. at the end of our 88-km journey along rivers and across country, we encounter a farmer named laimonas tautkevicius. he's just come from a long workday with 70 dairy cows, and
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now he's off to his favorite spot on a river with a clear view of the russian side. he says he feels no immediate threat -- he's just a little worried. he knows what maneuvers sound like. >> sometimes, the russians conduct military exercises -- explode something or set bombs off. there was a boom about two years ago that rattled our windows. >> who knows what can happen with or without a fence? >> i don't think the fence is going to help. if they want to, they'll just drive right through it. >> laimonas always keeps one eye open. if anything happens here, they'll be the first to know, his father says. laimonas swims no farther than the middle of the river.
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that's where russia begins. >> france has been on high alert after suffering a string of terrorist attacks in recent years. as elsewhere, the muslim community is often accused of not doing enough to deter or distance itself from those who commit the atrocities in the name of islam. in response, several prominent imams travelled across europe to hold prayers at the sites of the attacks, even though it meant making themselves targets for violence. >> taking a stand against terror under police protection. imam hocine drouiche from france spent days travelling with other muslim clerics to the scene of islamist attacks in europe. they hope their prayers will be a wake-up call to the muslim community to be more categorical in condemning terrorism. they visit a kosher supermarket in a paris suburb. here in january 2015, a gunman killed four people, simply
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because they were jews. >> they were attacked by a sick muslim who killed in the name of islam. this really concerns me. it puts a stain on our religion and our culture. that's why it's important to set an example right here. >> around 60 imams from various european and african countries joined the march. although the french imams were the initiators of the project, muslim leaders in france opposed the idea, believing it could lead to muslims being further stigmatized. it was in part thanks to marek halter that it went ahead anyway. the french-jewish writer has worked for decades to promote understanding between jews and muslims. >> maybe they needed my strength and energy. i always believed right from the start that it was possible to get something like this off the ground.
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>> possible, but not without risk. hassan chalghoumi, from the paris suburb of drancy, has been under police protection for years. salafist extremists have pledged to murder him. the police were once again out in force as the group arrived at the scene of last year's attack in berlin. drouiche is also worried about becoming a target for extremists. but he's committed to the cause. he laid flowers for the victims of the attack, including victims of other faiths. drouiche says there are texts in islam that call the faithful to commit acts of violence. but he believes it's important to understand them in their historical context. >> we muslims need to take responsibility. and we need to adapt certain religious texts to our modern times.
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in doing that, we're not taking anything away from islam. we're defending it. >> he also believes in maintaining good relations with other religious communities. here in berlin, the muslim imams met with christians and jews to pray together on breitscheidplatz, where 12 people lost their lives in the attack on a christmas market last december. a number of muslim families came for the ceremony, including student zeynep. >> terrorism has nothing to do with our understanding of religion. i don't think it's wrong or offensive to say a thousand times, "hey, this has nothing to do with us." >> the french imams feel that kind of clear stance against terror is often missing in france. >> we are still a minority, and we are not really understood by our own religious community. they treat us like traitors.
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>> the pastor of the kaiser-wilhelm memorial church, next to where the attack took place, understands the problem. he points out that christianity has not always been a peaceful religion down through history. >> stepping away from that past without denying it happened is something that took centuries for the church to do. so we as christians should have a profound understanding that it's a difficult journey. >> a difficult journey, but until muslims across europe publicly rise up together, drouiche and the other imams are determined to take a stand against terror. >> most people expect to be free to do what they want in the privacy of their own homes, right? a couple in dortmund were recently banned from smoking on their own patio. germany is known for stipulating rules for just about everything -- from the height of garden gnomes to when you can use a vacuum cleaner. but for the dowes in dortmund,
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who say they only indulge in the occasional cigarette, a partial ban on smoking on their own premises is a rule too far. >> enjoying a smoke on on your own terrace? that's not so easy for dirk dowe of dortmund. as noon approaches, he has to quickly get in his last few puffs or face jail time. the dortmund regional court has ruled that dowe and his wife may only smoke tobacco in their own yard according to a strict timetable -- for three hours at a stretch. >> we can't smoke from noon to 3:00, but from 3:00 to 6:00 we can. then we're banned from 6:00 to 9:00, and allowed again from 9:00 to 12:00, on a 24-hour basis - even at night. i can set the alarm for 3:00,
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sit out here and smoke till 6:00 a.m. >> the smoke bothers their neighbors in the townhouse complex, but only since the dowes had a roof put in over their patio. as it happens, the roof diverts the smoke. >> they say the smoke drifts over from here, like in a chimney, across the fence and down onto their patio, which is a bit lower. and then it gets into their house -- specifically, into their basement and through the bedroom windows. >> the courts have been considering the dowes' roof and the air currents for three years now. the county court found it caused no nuisance to the neighbors, but the regional court said it does, and imposed the timetable. now the dowes face a fine up to 250,000 euros, or six months in prison, for smoking outside the designated hours in their own yard. >> and down here in the yard? >> can't smoke. >> you're not allowed to smoke? >> not in the yard.
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not even in the back. >> why? >> the neighbors demanded it and the judge agreed. >> the neighbors wouldn't agree to talk about the cigarette squabble on camera. all dortmund is debating it -- the smokers and the non-smokers. >> i wonder why they smoke at all. everyone knows it's harmful to their health. >> actually, they should just mind their own business, because i'm sure there's something in the neighbors' household that bothers others, and they're keeping quiet about it. but when it comes to smoking, suddenly it's no. so we'll start a court battle over it. i don't know. >> it's very german to want to limit everything and say, after a certain time, you can't make noise at home, or you can't smoke. that's an invasion of privacy.
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>> health risk or no, the dowes' lawyer can't accept the judges' line of argument. >> this is a dispute over two basic rights -- one, the right to one's health, where the neighbors claim they're exposed to a hazard, and two, the couple's right to do whatever they wish on their own property. they're not renting it. they own it. >> many germans would side with the neighbors, now that smoking is no longer socially acceptable. and many would call for even stricter rules to protect non-smokers. restrictions on smoking have been getting tougher for years. in pubs, offices, and airports, smokers have to crowd into designated areas. smoking in private is still an issue. >> what's the time? >> 11:56. >> so in four minutes -- >> i have to stop. >> but i can. >> yeah, sure. you can smoke. your co-workers can too.
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>> the smoking ban takes effect for the dowes. at the stroke of noon, but only for the dowes. it doesn't sound logical, but according to the ruling, any guest here may smoke like a chimney non-stop, round the clock, even the reporter. >> after 12:00. no problem.h. >> in dortmund, smoke isn't always smoke. >> the only option the couple has now is to take their fight to the highest court in the land -- or alternatively, move house, or quit smoking. that's it for today. thank you for watching. see you next time. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
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